Blue Origin, Lockheed, Northrop join forces for Artemis lunar landerOctober 22, 2019
Blue Origin will soon join forces with the rest of the national team to develop a human lunar lander for research facility NASA. The founder of the company, Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame announced today that he intended to work with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Draper on the lunar lander which has not yet been given a name. the proposal for this project will go to NASA for its Human Landing Services competition.
Bezos announced that he was glad to be able to say that he had put together a national team to go to the moon. At the 70th International Astronautical Congress, he received an Excellence in the Industry award.
Blue Origin will be the prime contractor to give a decent stage development for the Blue Moon lunar lander which has been revealed earlier in 2019. Lockheed Martin will build a crew-rated ascent stage and leveraging systems developed for the Orion spacecraft. The transfer stage to transport the lander from the lunar Gateway to the low lunar orbit will be built by Northrop Grumman, basing the design on the Cygnus cargo spacecraft. Guidance systems and avionics for this lander will come from Draper.
Executives from the four companies said that an emergency exists to put man back on the moon in the coming 5 years and so they have teamed up to make the effort together rather than make a separate lander. The national priority is a national team that includes all four companies who are the best in their cadre according to Brent Sherwood, VP of advanced development programs at Blue Origin.
Originally, Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin wanted to pursue separate projects. Bezos’ event in May brought the companies together with his vision for Blue Moon. He included a stretched version of the decent stage which was large enough to house an ascent module for crewed missions.
The deadline for this mission is 2024.
Lockheed Martain VP and General Manager of commercial and civil space, Lisa Callahan said that the companies have taken up existing systems that the Government had invested in and are using it to justify the investment which came from the tax payer’s money. Senior VO and General Manager at Northrop Grumman, Frank DeMauro said that even sans the deadline, it only made sense for the team to join hands. Blue Origin’s Glenn rocket will be used for the mission along with other vehicles.
The Human Landing Services competition on the 1st of November will see several proposals which will be initially studied by NASA. Only two of these will reach full0scale development stages. The landers will belong to the companies but NASA will purchase the landing services.